Yep! It’s an art form!
In the island nation of Japan, fishing is both a primary industry and a pastime. According to the writers of the Heart and Hands Ancient Far East Kit teacher’s guide, Japanese fishing competitions eventually ceased requiring competitors to show “the big fish,” but allowed for prints of it! The technique is actually called Gyotaku. “Gyo” for fish, and “taku” for rubbing. A quick websearch (wish I had done this before we started) yielded some lovely examples!
We purchased the kit upon the exuberant recommendation of several moms on the Sonlight forum who have taught the Eastern Hemisphere Explorer curriculum before. The first two activities in the kit relate to Japan. There are two small wooden doll figures to be painted to commemorate Girl’s day and Boy’s day in Japan, and…the fish. For some reason, I kept putting off the fish print. Not sure why…but I suspect because it involved a dead and slightly odiferous fish…
We weren’t entirely pleased with our fish prints. For one thing our fish’s dorsal fin was pressed down, and the tail was somewhat compressed so neither of them show up very well in the prints. A fresh fish would likely yield a nicer print! (Let me know if this is your experience!) The paint mixing instuctions yielded a very watery paint mixture, so we suspect something went wrong there. We also weren’t sure which side of the rice paper to use to press against the poor painted fellow. The funky fish fragrance hung around for a while; even the print itself exuded a whiff of the wharf. However, after spending a few weeks pressed in my hefty Ancient Civilizations tome, the paper smells like, well, paper.
In the end, we decided that everyone should paint a dead fish at least once!
Japan falls in Weeks 7 and 8 of the Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere Core Curriculum. I’m just a little late in posting!
This was a fun Sketch Tuesday assignment! We learned a lot about whales with our Apologia Zoology II curriculum, and had a great review with our recent read-aloud Seabird, and our study of the South Atlantic. Somewhere in all the books, study and videos we remembered that whales live a long time! Grace decided to sketch the Bowhead Whale, which does not migrate to the South Atlantic like other species, but stays up in the Arctic regions.
We found information on Ask.com which quoted a Wikipedia report describing a bowhead whale specimen caught off of the coast of Alaska, found with ”the head of an explosive harpoon embedded deep under its neck blubber. The 3.5 inches (89 mm) arrow-shaped projectile was manufactured in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a major whaling center, around 1890, suggesting the animal may have survived a similar hunt more than a century ago.” It is now believed that Bowhead whales live longer than other whale species, and possibly as long as 150 to 200 years.
Bow Head Whale for Sketch Tuesday
We sent the sketch in to Harmony Art Mom who coordinates Sketch Tuesday, and here is a slideshow of all the participants and the various things they sketched that “live a long time.” We were especially delighted to see Yoda appear!
Sunday morning my sweet daughter presented me with a hand drawn gift for Mother’s Day – A beautiful sketch of the farm at dusk, complete with shimmery sky (stars, you know) and golden sparkly windows in the cottage, the little apple tree and alpacas coming out of the barn.
“Alpacas?” you ask.
Yes, well, there is an extensive, often convoluted, certainly ambitious, and exceedingly flexible plan for the farm that includes bees, lambs, horses, pumpkins, Christmas trees, chickens, a hotel and alpacas. The list changes as interests change. For the longest time it was to be an Angora bunny farm. This interest was fueled by the show bunnies at the Virginia State Fair, but waned when she realized she would have to trim bunny teeth. Similar discussions of animal husbandry requirements for alpacas have yet to swerve her from this latest plan.
Grace shares my love for the farm and intends to live there, when she is not in Paris.
In any case – I couldn’t have received a better gift from my daughterkind for Mother’s Day!
One of my favorite Charlotte Mason Homeschool Bloggers is Nadine at Practical Pages. She posts encouragement, tips, notebooking pages and lots of wonderful ideas for adding life to learning life through drama, art and music. Just recently she posted some wonderful sketches that she and her children prepared to include in a link up called Sketch Tuesday. Sketch Tuesday is put together by Barb at Harmony Art Mom. Each week, Barb posts a “sketch prompt” and artists of all ages, styles and experience send in their sketches which Barb then posts for a Sketch Tuesday Art Exhibit on Flickr. It’s not a competition, so there is no pressure! Grace loves to draw, and while we are really enjoying the Studio Art class she takes at her co-op, this gives her a chance to work on something fresh and new each week. She also really enjoyed seeing other’s interpretation of the assignment! She’s already thinking of ideas for next week’s Sketch Tuesday assignment: ”Sketch something with a tail!”
Here is Grace’s Sketch Tuesday sketch for today’s “Sketch something purple” exhibit: